Chicago: Rise cannabis dispensary employees in Niles, Joliet are out on strike

Union representatives said the strike is over unfair labor practices. They have been in negotiations with the company on a new contract since June.

Workers at three Chicago-area Rise marijuana dispensaries walked off the job Wednesday for better pay and improved working conditions after months of negotiations failed to bring an agreement on a contract with the company.

More than 100 employees at two Rise locations in Joliet and one in Niles are taking part in the open-ended strike, which union reps said is over unfair labor practices. The walkout began at 4:20 p.m. and took place a day ahead of April 20, or 4/20, the numerical code for marijuana’s high holiday.

Workers protesting outside the Niles location, 9621 N. Milwaukee Ave., held signs reading “On Strike” and shouted “Happy 4/20” at cars speeding by. Public Enemy’s anti-establishment anthem “Fight the Power” blared from a speaker. Many drivers showed their support by honking and revving their engines.

Reilly Drew, an employee of the dispensary and member of the bargaining team, said the walkout date was chosen to send a clear message.


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